$2M Settlement to 2 N.J. Cousins Hurt in Drunk Driving Crash

Two teen-aged cousins who were severely hurt in December 2013 when the car they were riding in was struck from behind by a vehicle being operated by a drunk driver have agreed to a $2.05 million settlement in the case.

The victims, Sora Newman and Shulamis Gorelick, who were 16 years old at the time of the crash on Dec. 29, 2013, both received traumatic brain and other injuries due to the impact, according to a July 25 story by NJ.com.

Both victims were back seat passengers in a car being driven by 33-year-old Rivka Willner of Lakewood, N.J. The vehicle was struck from behind on Route 9 in Old Bridge about 12:30 a.m. by a vehicle being driven southbound on the road by Farhad Qamar-Yousufzai of Manalapan, forcing the car with the two teens off the road and into a pole. Both victims had to be extricated from the vehicle by emergency workers. Qamar-Yousufzai’s blood-alcohol level after the crash was found to be about three times the legal limit, according to the report.

Qamar-Yousufzai, 37, who reportedly had been drinking for some three hours before the crash at Ale House Tavern & Tap on Route 35 in Sayreville, was later convicted of two counts of aggravated assault and one count of assault by auto. He was sentenced in May 2016 and is serving a three-year term in state prison. The bar allegedly continued to serve Qamar-Yousufzai even after he became visibly drunk, the report continued. The tavern’s two insurance companies will pay $1 million each toward the settlement, while Qamar-Yousufzai’s insurance company will pay $50,000.

Under dram shop laws across the nation, bar owners and other people who make a profit selling alcohol are responsible for the consequences of continuing to serve alcohol to someone who is over the limit. Dram laws also apply if the person who is served alcohol is underage. By serving additional drinks to someone and then allowing them to leave an establishment in that condition, tavern owners can be held responsible for injuries to others. If a person is visibly intoxicated, the law says that a tavern owner should cease serving alcohol at that point.

Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/tillsonburg

The two injured cousins, who will equally split the settlement, are each now 20 years old. In addition to both victims suffering traumatic brain injuries, Newman also lost vision in her left eye and suffered multiple fractures to her face and orbital bone, requiring several surgeries.

These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle accident or incident anywhere in the United States.

We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-789-9346 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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